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Destination inspiration: Valletta, Malta

Why go?

Golden-hued Valletta rises above the Mediterranean like a fairy-tale fortress. Sitting snugly on a narrow peninsula, the tiny Maltese capital has survived – and flourished – amidst invasions by the Romans, Ottomans, French, and British, making it a top destination for history buffs. But Valletta’s not only for lovers of the past, as edgy art galleries and restaurants open up next to Baroque palaces and monuments. With its grid pattern and compact size, the city is made for ambling walks along narrow yellow-stoned streets as you seek out the prettiest view – and your next meal.

Valletta’s cuisine – a fusion of Italian, British, and North African – is a delicious reflection of the country’s rich history. You’ll find waterside terraces and converted 16th-century mansions serving traditional Maltese rabbit stew, spaghetti with mussels, and freshly-caught lampuki (dorado). Pastizzi, pastries stuffed with ricotta or mushy peas, are whipped up all day long, while Valletta’s recently reborn bar scene means you can hit the streets for post-dinner cocktails.

When to go?

Valletta is lovely any time of year, but you may want to avoid mid-June to mid-September, when the hot weather can be draining. Spring and autumn bring cooler temperatures that are better for sightseeing and city walks. If you don’t mind a bit of rain, head here in winter when flights and accommodation are at their cheapest.

Where to stay?

Ursulino Valletta - Valletta, Malta
Treat yourself to this five-star bed and breakfast. The rooms are stylish and there are only seven of them, so you can expect very attentive service from the staff. The highlight is undoubtedly the roof terrace, where you can enjoy views of the sea with a glass of Prosecco.

MAC KAY Studios Valletta - Valletta, Malta
These bright, comfy apartments make a great base to explore Malta, especially for longer stays. Your studio is fitted out with everything you’d need, from kitchenware to a washing machine. The central location and helpful host make this a convenient and relaxing stay.

Palazzo Prince d’Orange - Valletta, Malta
For 17th-century charm, reserve a weekend in this atmospheric old villa. You can choose between one or two bedroom-apartments, many of which feature a balcony with sea views.

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